Hurricane Katrina forced the temporary closure of Tulane University School of Medicine requiring relocation to the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. This required curricular restructuring, and resulted in faculty/student challenges. The effect of these stresses on student performance was studied.
A pre-Katrina and post-Katrina comparative analysis of all Tulane medical students’ performance on standardized exams, internal examination and United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) step exams was performed. A one-way analysis of variance was used to determine if mean examination scores differed from pre-Katrina to post-Katrina.
Internal examination scores did not differ significantly. National standardized examination grades significantly decreased pre-Katrina to post-Katrina in Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Pathology, Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry (P < 0.05). There was no statistical change in USMLE scores.
Tulane students had a statistically significant decline in performance on many course and clerkship examinations, though overall performance on licensing examinations was unchanged. Many stresses may have affected students’ ability to perform.
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Accepted: May 13, 2008
Received: April 29, 2008
© 2008 Southern Society for Clinical Investigation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.